Slavery Myths: Life Expectancy

American South

Here’s the average life expectancy at birth for American slaves in 1850 compared to the life expectancy of various “free” populations around the world:

U.S. White – 40
England and Wales, 1838-1856 – 40
Holland, 1850-1860 – 36
France, 1854-58 – 36
U.S. Slave – 36
Italy, 1885 – 35
Austria, 1875 – 31
Chile, 1920 – 31
Manchester, England, 1831 – 24
New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, 1830 – 24

Note: This information also comes from Time on the Cross: The Economics of Negro Slavery.

What do you suppose the average life expectancy for a negro was in malaria-infested, yellow fever-infested, river blindness-infested West Africa and Central Africa in 1850? What do you suppose the healthcare system was like in, say, the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1850?

LandShark
Guest

How is choosing prison different than choosing slavery?

People enslave themselves in the worst ways.

The humane thing to do is what we set out to do all along — enslave them properly.

Mosin Nagant
Guest

John Bonacorsi wrote: “Are you sure about that, Mosin? I would think many persons would prefer freedom to enslavement, regardless of consideration of, say, life expectancy or nutrition, precisely because being enslaved is not pleasurable.”

I was being ironic again, about the “benevolence argument,” not supporting it! Reading more of my comments would make that clear.

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[…] life expectancy of a slave in America was much higher than for whites in industrialized parts of the world. With this in mind, realize that SAT scores […]

Bria Adams
Guest

To answer your question. Free.

Kathleen Wright
Guest
I accidentally stumbled upon this page while doing research for a paper I am writing regarding the African Diaspora. I know this was published a long time ago and I am commenting late, but the attitude of almost everyone here disgusts me. Insinuating that black people are better off being the property of whites is simply wrong. I can guarantee that almost no one here knows anything about the slave trade as a whole and is informed solely by their misguided sense of superiority that stems from being born white. Take into consideration that freed black people were at a… Read more »
Rudel
Guest

“they were forbidden by their masters from learning trades or becoming literate”

Not true. Many Negro slaves were craftsmen such as smiths, wheelwrights, even operating engineers of machines . Their masters either hired them out as such, or bankrolled their workshops where the slave got a percentage of the profits. You had best due some real historical research rather than rely on the PC BS summaries your lesbian professors assign you to read.

David
Guest
I think most people are missing the main point The life span of a factory worker in Liverpool UK in 1850 was 27 years of age, and he had his freedom to work between 60 and 70 hours a week, as did his children who under 13 years of age were restricted to only 60 hours a week. So to me Wilberforce and his cohorts who correctly abolished slavery in this period did nothing and cared less for their own people, and I fear that outlook is current today when collections are made for the third world when in so… Read more »
Captain John Charity Spring MA
Guest
Captain John Charity Spring MA

I can, with certainty state that there were 240,000 free blacks in the confederacy. Of whom 50,000 owned slaves. So 1/5 of blacks in the Confederacy owned slaves.

Chang and Eng Bunker are two celebrated/hidden examples of this.

I’m so sick of niggers.

Captain John Charity Spring MA
Guest
Captain John Charity Spring MA
The decrease in life expectancy also occurred with Russian Serfs after emancipation too. Industrialization of an agrarian population is a killer. One thing you ought to look at is the Jewish role in the genesis of the Atlantic slave trade. The first intensive sugar plantations were set up in Sao Tome by Jewish renegades escaping the inquisition in Portugal. They found the Volcanic island, a few miles off the African mainland, unpopulated and proceeded to bring in Africans to work their sugar cane. The Jews appear to have been specialists in sugar cane and slaving all the way back to… Read more »
Mosin Nagant
Guest

David, I agree that BOTH African enslavement abroad AND un-Christian mistreatment of fellow Britons at home needed abolishment at once. The second goal would have met with much more resistance, so they took on the less difficult task. However, Wilberforce was involved in at least one domestic reform effort: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_for_the_Suppression_of_Vice However, the ‘vice’ effort was really aimed as much at checking radical opponents of elitism as immorality itself!

Mosin Nagant
Guest

Commenter Kathleen Wright (above) is actually correct that in many places teaching Africans to read was not allowed because it would make them more dangerous, harder to control.

Captain John Charity Spring MA
Guest
Captain John Charity Spring MA

It was considered dangerous to teach peasants to read too. I’m not sure I follow. Missionaries in Africa however went in specifically to teach literacy.

Mosin Nagant
Guest

I didn’t say whether I was for or against their literacy training, but only that there really were rules against it in some places. Good point, John, about discouraging white peasants from reading, my response to your question on the other thread disappeared, and the printing press invention increased the temptation and the danger.

Raul Delgadillo
Guest

Just having the freedom to walk to wherever you desire is incredible, when you spend any amount of time without that freedom.

victorbradley
Guest
When you said “Malaria-infested, yellow fever-infested, river blindness-infested” I had to re-read because at first I thought you were describing South Carolina and Mississippi which had the largest enslaved populations in America, or Jamaica, or Panama, which had much larger enslaved populations than the U.S. The point is, the conditions you attribute to West and Central Africa are exactly those of the areas where slavery was most extensive. Combine this with the fact that in Africa people were allowed to do what was best for themselves health-wise and were not being deliberately worked to death, and the life-spans might have… Read more »
jakl
Guest

I was thinking about how some politicians resort to racism to answer thier problems, so I did some research and found that their complaint about being brought here as slaves and I found that the chiefs and leaders of their tribes were the ones selling their own people. Chances are the ones that were brought here would have been slaves in other tribes. SO I say quit your complaining and calling up the race card.

george
Guest
in no way do i support slavery whether its called that or not. the succesful races on this planet have all came to the modern age baby step by baby step. europeans made scientific and social breakthroughs over thousands of years ago. sub-saharens were not and still are not anywhere ready for the complexity of western society. africans should not be allowed in the government of any white nation. throughout history africans formed small to medium tribes that wereconstantly at war. they still form these tribes but call them gangs. the whole world would be better off if we would… Read more »
Billy Richardson
Guest

Interesting, but you are comparing apples to elephants, what was the life expectancy of the negro race in Africa in the years 1800-1860? This is where the majority of the slaves came from. Were the slaves living longer in slavery in america than they were in Africa ?

Billy Richardson
Guest

Interesting, but you are comparing apples to elephants, what was the life expectancy of the negro race in Africa in the years 1800-1860? This is where the majority of the slaves came from. Were the slaves living longer in slavery in America than they were free in Africa ? And were the free in Africa ? Men, women, and children were taking often as slaves if captured during a war or raid.

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[…] Wallace, Hunter. “Slavery Myths: Life Expectancy.” October 15, 2102. Accessed May 9, 2016. http://www.occidentaldissent.com/2012/10/15/slavery-myths-life-expectancy/. […]

Libernational
Guest
To die from Malaria a free man is to have lived FREE…Slaves were raped, beaten, children ripped from their mothers arms and never seen again, sick men and women were tossed into the middle of the oceans during transport, then came 100 yrs of Jim Crow laws….so you can attempt to continue with the lies written and subverted on the pages of American History books but the truth is out and the oppression of the mind is now only for the weak…We will not be trained to believe that this country has moral superiority over any other, it is the… Read more »
1DUKEZ
Guest

I have a simple question. Without slavery, what quality of life would the descendants of slaves have over the years??

Libernational
Guest

you would also have to remove 100 yrs of Jim Crow laws in every state, in some ways worse than slavery. Over 40,000 documented lynchings occurred in that period. It was a dehumanizing existence while the wealthiest most powerful nation in the world thrived in your presence…

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